With the West Bengal Police failing to file a chargesheet against P Manna, owner of MPS Greenery, even after 60 days of his custody, at Bankura district court, aggrieved investors have sought judicial intervention.
Manna was sent to police custody on September 26 after interrogation by the Shyamal Sen Commission. With no chargesheet filed within 60 days of his custody, Manna was granted bail from Bankura district court recently. However, he now faces cases in multiple district courts, including Durgapur and Howrah district courts, which would keep him behind bars, as of now.
Meanwhile, the MPS investors’ forum has decided to file a petition at Calcutta High Court seeking reasons behind Police not filing the chargesheet so far. According to Kinjal Bhattacharya, secretary, MPS Investor’s Association, the association will challenge the role of Police for failing to produce a charegesheet against Manna. MPS owns nearly Rs 1,860 crore to investors, according to Bhattacharya. This apart, the association will also file another petition seeking roadmap for refund of their money, while questioning role of regulators and state government in the process.
Probe in illicit money-pooling firms in West Bengal took a new turn when recently the state government decided to wind up the Shyamal Sen Commission, originally set-up to compensate the victims of the Saradha scam. Notably, ever since CBI and ED have started probe in the scam, the state government has been critical of the interference. Already, The All India Small Depositors and Agent Protection Committee has already placed an appeal with the Calcutta High Court for extension of the Commission. The commission so far had paid close to Rs 278 crore to Saradha investors with investments less than Rs 20,000. Of this, cheques worth Rs 138 crore bounced due to wrong addresses, according to Subir Dey, president of the depositors’ association.
Interestingly, MPS is still operating its collective investment scheme, while circulating its new KYC norm forms to its investors. MPS has been mobilising funds through collective investment schemes (CIS) for a long time through instruments such as teak, agro and plantation bonds. In 2012, Sebi had ordered the firm to deposit Rs 1,169.39 crore in the escrow account of a public-sector bank and stop running the schemes. Though CIS is a recognised financial tool, in the past decade, Sebi hasn’t renewed CIS certificates. But companies have been operating through old certificates .
While Saradha had defaulted on payments to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore to 1.25 million depositors, MPS and Rose Valley together owe Rs 5,860 crore to their investors, according to estimates by investors.